Editing and effectively publishing an article require much more steps than just a document ready for print.
After publishing an article, it is necessary to easily track the article and to search for its content by using the available tools.
To overcome this problem, an individualized identification for each article, similar to a personal and nontransferable identification document, needed to be created. The digital object identifier (DOI) was created for this purpose, and is a character string used to identify documents - or objects, in general - available in the digital environment.
The DOI is a numeric string that allows locating and referencing a document stored in the Internet. It is assigned by a publisher and persists with each document forever, even if the location and manner of storage of the document change over time.
The DOI numbers comprise a prefix that identifies the registrant of the name; the ISSN of the publication; and specific information about the article, such as the volume, issue, page numbers, and year of publication1,2. In other words, it is not just a random number; it is an informative numeric string.
When typing the DOI of an article in a search tool, it is possible to directly access the article, without the need to provide any additional information, such as author, journal, volume, issue, year of publication, or pages. Similarly, when adding published works during the online creation of a curriculum vitae, there is the possibility of just providing the publication DOI and the system will automatically insert it correctly, with all the required details.
Owing to the modernization and dissemination of electronic curriculum management platforms - such as Lattes, in Brazil - and the need for simplifying information management methods, it has become practically imperative to have a DOI number for each article. Furthermore, the Brazilian Journal of Plastic Surgery (RBCP) already uses this approach in its publications.